Amplifying Indigenous Voices

Posted: New Initiatives:
Oct 11, 2023
  • Issue 17
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The Legal Unit's Approach to Indigenous Consultation at NWAC

The Legal Unit at NWAC takes pride in leading transformative change for Indigenous communities. Central to our work is a commitment to inclusive and meaningful consultation with Indigenous stakeholders. This isn’t just a procedural step; it’s an ethical cornerstone that informs all our initiatives.

Our consultation approach is designed to be multi-faceted, capturing the richness and diversity of Indigenous voices. We employ a variety of engagement mechanisms, from expert round tables to one-on-one interviews. These sessions are inclusive, bringing together a wide array of voices from Indigenous persons across Canada—legal experts, social workers, academics, community leaders, Elders, youth, gender-diverse people, and individuals with lived experience in care.

For example, in our recent milestone initiative on An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families, we employed government engagement mechanisms (GEMs) involving expert round tables and one-on-one interviews. These discussions were comprehensive, covering 17 topics identified by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), along with several other emergent issues. While the project serves as a specific example, the underlying principles of comprehensive discussion, inclusivity, and actionable insights are consistent across all our work, leading to key recommendations that reflect the collective wisdom of the communities we serve.

Our engagement goes beyond merely gathering opinions; it ensures that these diverse voices are integrated into the final recommendations. For instance, the inclusion of Indigenous WG2STGD+ people in consultations is a principle we uphold across all projects, ensuring that every community member’s voice is heard and considered.

Informed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), our consultation methods are continually evolving to meet the unique needs and expectations of Indigenous communities. We are committed to making our engagement not just a box-ticking exercise but a meaningful dialogue that leads to actionable outcomes.

The conclusion of any project is a milestone, but our work doesn’t end there. The recommendations serve as a roadmap for future action, and we remain committed to advocacy efforts to ensure their implementation. We extend our gratitude to everyone who has participated in these important dialogues.

To learn more about the Legal Unit’s work, please visit NWAC's Legal Affairs and Justice page.